News from the Canadian Children’s Book Centre & Friends
Links We Love
December Reading List: Best of the Year
Author Corner: Nhung Tran Davies
Illustrator’s Studio: Lisa Boivin
News from the Canadian Children’s Book Centre & Friends
Be a Friend, Share a Book!
Be a friend, share a book! Support the CCBC by purchasing this vintage style poster by celebrated children’s book illustrator Pierre Collet-Derby. Produced entirely in Canada, these prints are letterpressed by Everlovin’ Press and are signed by the illustrator. Proceeds go to the Canadian Children’s Book Centre.
The Great Canadian Book Project
TEACH Magazine is excited to launch a new video series that showcases Canadian books as valuable teaching tools. Plus, the videos come with a suite of curriculum-linked lesson plans to support teachers and implementation!
To celebrate, we’re also offering a free giveaway! Check us out on Twitter, where you can enter to win a selection of books as featured in the videos. Contest ends December 15.
Purchase One-Of-A-Kind Art to Support the CCBC!
The Canadian Children’s Book Centre (CCBC) is excited to announce the launch of the virtual Picture Book Gallery. Award-winning Canadian illustrators are selling original art to support the CCBC’s annual Canadian Children’s Book Week program. Illustrators are donating 60% of the value of their original art in support of the CCBC.
IBBY Canada named official sponsor of International Children’s Book Day 2022
IBBY Canada (International Board on Books for Young People, Canadian section) is delighted to announce that our section has been selected as the official sponsor of International Children’s Book Day 2022. Every year, on or around Hans Christian Andersen’s birthday (April 2), International Children’s Book Day is celebrated to inspire a love of reading and to call attention to children’s books. IBBY International has been sponsoring the event since 1967.
Save the Date: Your School Can Apply for Canadian Children’s Book Week on December 8!
Canadian Children’s Book Week is the single most important national event celebrating Canadian children’s books and the importance of reading.
The upcoming tour will take place from May 1 to May 7, 2022, and will allow young readers to connect with highly acclaimed and emerging authors and illustrators. See the complete list of everyone touring here.
You school, library or community centre can apply to take part! Applications open December 8. Check bookweek.ca for more details.
Learn more about Canadian Children’s Book Week at bookweek.ca and at communication-jeunesse.qc.ca.
Students All Across Canada Have Started to Receive Their Copies of Malaika’s Costume
The Canadian Children’s Book Centre (CCBC) is excited for the 2021 TD Grade One Book Giveaway. Malaika’s Costume, written by Nadia L. Hohn and illustrated by Irene Luxbacher, will be distributed to over 550,000 Grade 1 students in the coming months. The book is the first in a series of three and is published by Groundwood Books, with the French edition (Le costume de Malaika) published by Éditions Scholastic. Free downloads of activities and lessons are available online. Learn more here.
The Canada Council for the Arts Reveals the Governor General’s Literary Awards Winners
The 14 best books of 2021 published in Canada, were selected by peer assessment committees that followed a very rigorous process to deliberate and choose them from among the 70 finalists in seven categories, in both English and in French.
Young People’s Literature – Text Firefly – Philippa Dowding (Toronto, Ontario) DCB / Cormorant Books
Young People’s Literature – Illustrated Books On the Trapline – David A. Robertson and Julie Flett (Winnipeg, Manitoba / Vancouver, British Columbia) Tundra Books / Penguin Random House Canada
Take your child or classroom on an adventure with MS Read-a-Thon
With over 40 years of fun, MS Read-a-Thon is a program you may remember from when you were a kid. Now you can share your childhood memories with your own kids in with the new and updated MS Read-a-Thon program. The rules are simple – read whatever you like, as much as you can!
Kids love MS Read-a-Thon and it’s never been easier or more exciting to take part. MS Read-a-Thon is more fun than ever before with a new, interactive website that lets kids track the books they read, download colouring pages and more.
Fundraising has never been easier and will help fund vital services for the MS community. You can register now to start fundraising and be ready for the official reading period from January 27th to February 28, 2022. Time to put your reading caps on and have loads of fun!
The Canadian Children’s Book Centre is Nominated for the Astrid Lindgren Memorial Award
The CCBC is Nominated for the 2022 Astrid Lindgren Memorial Award. Among the nominees are a full 282 names from 71 countries including some of the world’s foremost creators of literature for children and young people, as well as reading promoters. You can view the full list here.
Representing Canada are:
Isabelle Arsenault, Author/Illustrator
Canadian Children’s Book Centre, Organisation
Deborah Ellis, Author
Jacques Goldstyn, Author/Illustrator
Robert Munsch, Author/Illustrator/Storyteller
Eric Walters, Author
Nahid Kazemi, Illustrator
Zetta Elliott, Author/Illustrator
Jon Klassen, Author/Illustrator
Enter to Win Amazing Canadian Books for All Ages!
Enter to win our #CCBCBookAwards prize to win all of the books nominated for the 2021 English-language awards. See the full list of nominees here.
Resources for Discussing Residential Schools and Indigenous Issues
Residential school history is a difficult subject to teach kids, but it’s something that all Canadians should know – so how do we do it?
First Page Writing Contest Coming Soon!
CBC Books’ national creative writing challenge for Grades 7 to 12 students is coming back!
The First Page will be open for the entire month of February 2022.
The Challenge: Write the first page of a novel (300-400 words) imagining how a current day issue or trend has played out in 150 years. The book could be from any literary genre, from mystery or thriller to literary fiction, from adventure or romance to satire or science fiction.
Prizes: The winner of each category will receive a one-year subscription to OwlCrate, which delivers monthly boxes of books and literary-related goodies. The school library of each winner will also receive a donation of 50 books.
Everything you need to know about the challenge can be found at cbc.ca/thefirstpage.
Empowering Youth, One Generation at a Time: Free Resources
The Rick Hansen Foundation School Program (RHFSP) is inspired by Rick’s belief in the power of youth and their ability to change the world. RHFSP raises awareness, challenges perceptions, and changes attitudes, through a variety of lessons and activities, empowering youth to take action on important issues.
RHFSP resources are designed for youth from K-12 and include age-appropriate lessons and interactive activities for every grade level. Free, bilingual, and connected to provincial curriculum, our resources are:
- Deliverable online or in the classroom
- Developed by educators, for educators
- Grounded in Universal Design for Learning and incorporate Differentiated Instruction Strategies
Purchase Our Greeting Cards and Support the CCBC!
With everyone across the country separated from their friends and families, we are all searching for ways to connect with one another. Support the CCBC and send your loved ones a greeting featuring art from past Canadian Children’s Book Week posters. Perfect for stocking stuffers, these greeting cards feature original art by illustrators Barbara Reid, Julie Flett, Ian Wallace, Wallace Edwards, Bill Slavin, Elly MacKay, Gabrielle Grimard and Eugenie Fernandes. All purchases from these packs of eight cards go towards programs like Canadian Children’s Book Week, the CCBC Book Awards and Bibliovideo
Follow the CCBC on TikTok
The Canadian Children’s Book Centre is now on TikTok! Follow us, like our first video and stay tuned for more!
Order the Fall Issue of Best Books for Kids & Teens!
Best Books for Kids & Teens is your guide to the best new Canadian books, magazines, audio and video for children and teens. Whether you’re stocking a bookshelf in a classroom, library or at home, every title in this guide has been given the Canadian Children’s Book Centre’s stamp of approval. Expert committees of educators, booksellers, school and public librarians from across Canada have handpicked the materials listed in this guide. Committees look for excellence in writing, illustration or performance. Most importantly, these committees focus on selecting materials that will appeal to children and young adults.
#GiveKidsBooks / #LectureEnCadeauPourJeunes
Get an early start to your holiday shopping with this great playlist of authors and illustrators recommending their favourite books. Find the full list of videos here!
Want to stay updated on the world of Canadian children’s books all month long? Follow us on Facebook and Twitter!
Canadian Children’s Book News Online Preview
Canadian Children’s Book News: Winter Reading
It’s time for winter reading! Published quarterly, our magazine Canadian Children’s Book News reviews books, interviews authors and illustrators, includes annotated reading lists, informs and updates readers about issues affecting children’s education and reading, and provides information and news about the world of children’s books in Canada.
We are currently featuring bonus reviews online. See them all here.
Links We Love
Articles and videos of interest to educators and parents.
Edmonton author Lorna Schultz Nicholson releases her 45th book (Global News)
Saskatchewan Author releases new children’s book about celebrating differences (Discover Weyburn)
Kids’ books gift guide: Find new ways for young readers to explore the world (The Globe and Mail)
Holiday Gift Guide to More Than 60 of the Best LGBTQ-Inclusive Children’s Books and Music Albums of 2021 (Mombian)
15 Nonfiction Children’s Books On Every Topic From Nature To History To Space (Romper)
Grade 5 friends collect hundreds of books to give to children in the hospital (CTV News)
L.M. Montgomery’s classic Anne of Green Gables named most translated Canadian book (CBC Books)
Canadian booksellers are struggling, but not in the way you might think (CBC News)
20 Best Graphic Novels for Kids of Every Reading Level (Good Housekeeping)
N.S. moms pen new book that celebrates gender-diverse kids (CBC News)
How to Diversify Your Child’s Bookshelves (Brightly)
75 facts you might not know about Anne of Green Gables and author Lucy Maud Montgomery (CBC Books)
The 2021 New York Times/New York Public Library Best Illustrated Children’s Books (The New York Times)
Vancouver Island resident, 95, takes inspiration from Dolly Parton and launches free book program for toddlers (CBC News)
Friends team up to publish children’s book featuring Great Bear Rainforest creatures (Coast Mountain News)
Leap into winter! Artist Elly MacKay reveals how she created this charming CBC Arts logo (CBC Arts)
December Reading List: Our Favourite Books of the Year
Our December newsletter is a celebration of the CCBC staff’s favourite books of 2021!
Author’s Corner: Nhung Tran-Davies
NHUNG TRAN-DAVIES is an author, physician, mother of three, and an advocate for social justice in education. She came to Canada as a refugee from the Vietnam war when she was a young child. She loves to write children’s stories that convey the humanity in our lives. Her books have been shortlisted for the Alberta Literary Award, the Red Maple Award, and the Blue Spruce Award.
First, tell us a little bit about yourself. How did you get your start as an author?
I am a writer, physician and an advocate for social justice through education. I write, first and foremost, because I have a love of writing and a passion for words. I write, at times, because my thoughts become restless over certain social issues, and to calm it down, I capture the issues in written words. I love to write children’s stories, especially stories that convey the humanity in our lives. For me, children are wonderful reminders of the beauty in a grain of sand. Children embody the hope we have for the future, and so I hope my stories will help create empathy, compassion, understanding and respect for one another.
I got my start as an author about a decade ago when my nephew was diagnosed with a brain tumor. I self-published a fun little story as a way to raise funds for the Brain Tumour Foundation of Canada to help find a cure. I have since donated proceeds from all my books to charity. After my first book, I wanted to pursue traditional publishers because in my mind, if my manuscripts were accepted by these industry experts, it would affirm to me that I could write. I believed in my stories, and so I persevered through many rejection letters until one day in 2013 a highly revered senior editor Peter Carver at Red Deer Press sent a message saying how much he appreciated the manuscript I had submitted, and here we are today.
Otherwise, I love travelling the world, reading poetry, going to the movies, and just hanging out in the garden with my three rambunctious children. Unfortunately, I can’t cook, can’t dance or sing.
The Doll was one of the CCBC’s favourite books of 2021. This picture book was based on your personal experience: what lead to you turning a childhood memory into The Doll?
The Doll is a children’s picture book that was 40 years in the making. I, however, did not start out intending on writing a book about this childhood memory. The book was inspired by a doll I was given from a young girl named Adrienne forty years ago when my family first arrived in Canada as refugees from the Vietnam War. Having come from war and poverty, as a child, I didn’t know what to expect coming through the gates of the Edmonton International Airport. My heart lit up when I was presented with a doll. That doll meant everything to me and it came to symbolize for me all the kindness, generosity and compassion of so many Canadians. Knowing that all that I have and all that I’ve become is because of this simple act of kindness, I live to this day to pay forward that kindness. Forty years later, it was my turn to stand at the airport gates to give a doll to a little Syrian refugee child, Alma.
CBC News happened to capture that moment when I gave little Alma a doll. This little gesture of passing on a doll to Alma meant something special only to myself, and so I was taken aback when people across the country and around the world wrote to me expressing how touched they were by this. When I realized how that moment impacted so many others, I felt it was important to capture the story in a book.
You are taking part in the 2022 Canadian Children’s Book Week virtual tour, visiting students all across Canada virtually. What are you most looking forward to?
Oh my goodness, I am incredibly excited about this tour. I can’t wait to meet all the children. I especially look forward to having conversations with them. Children have so many curious, insightful questions. They are wide-eyed and enthusiastic about life and the world. I know I will learn so much from them, as they often lift my spirits and give me hope as well. It will be so amazing.
What advice do you have for educators who are interested in using your books in the classroom?
I am just so thankful for educators who are interested in using my books in the classroom. I think many children will see themselves or their parents and grandparents in my stories, while many other children will gain a greater appreciation of their friend’s journey. Picture books are great in that it combines both the beauty of words and imageries. Pictures can be worth a thousand words when delving into such complex matters as refugee and immigration. The images can convey, especially to children, the essence of the issue far better than words.
With my book The Doll, there can be conversations about how we are a nation of immigrants. These discussions will help students appreciate our diverse backgrounds, culture, languages, religions, while recognizing how beautiful we are together.
There can also be conversations about the plights of refugees. The theme of searching for hope and freedom is universal. It is important that children not forget our history of war and conflict, because humanity can only grow if we know our past. Stories such as this will help students understand and have compassion for why people become refugees and why they make the difficult and dangerous journeys across the seas. Students will therefore understand why none of us should turn our backs on refugees.
Most of all, students will be empowered with the knowledge that they can positively change the course of someone else’s life. Children will appreciate that a seemingly simple act of kindness, in a moment of time can ripple forth beyond our doors and neighbourhoods, across the world and through the generations. Kindness is a very powerful force and a very practical solution to many of society’s ailments.
What projects are you working on now? Can you tell us about any upcoming books?
I am so excited about my upcoming books. Green Papayas is a picture book slated for release next fall. It is the story of a child’s time with their aging grandmother who is declining both cognitively and physically. It is through the mother’s recollections of the past that her children learn of the hardship and courage that defined their grandmother and which gave them dreams.
I wrote this story because, as a physician, I care for many elders who live in long-term care facilities. I am saddened by the loneliness of their lives as they lose their identity with the passage of time. We often forget that these elders are not just patients with dementia, but actual people with stories filled with amazing courage, love, and hope.
The book I’m currently working on is another picture book called Rubber and Magic. It is story about how unkind words and bullying can wear a child down, but children, like rubber and magic, are resilient. I hope to reaffirm how every child is special, with unique gifts, and when the child recognizes this, unkind words cannot keep the child down.
Find out more about Nhung on her website, nhungtrandavies.com.
Watch Your Favourite Book On Bibliovideo
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Illustrator Demonstrations / Démonstrations des illustrateurs
TD Summer Reading Club / Club de lecture d’été TD
Stay Home, Read Together / Lisons ensemble à la maison
Author Interviews / Entretiens avec des écrivains
Book Readings / Séances de lecture
Illustrator’s Studio: Lisa Boivin
LISA BOIVIN is a member of the Deninu Kue First Nation. She is an interdisciplinary artist and a Doctoral Candidate at the Rehabilitation Sciences Institute at University of Toronto Faculty of Medicine. Lisa uses images as a pedagogical tool to bridge gaps between medical ethics and aspects of Indigenous cultures and worldviews. She is writing and collaging an arts-based thesis that addresses the colonial barriers Indigenous patients navigate in the current healthcare system. Lisa strives to humanize clinical
medicine as she situates her art in the Indigenous continuum of passing knowledge through images.
First, tell us a little bit about yourself. How did you get your start as an author and illustrator?
Stories have always acted as a flare, guiding my journey, leading me to many places.
When I began studying bioethics, I asked my father for feedback on many topics. I learned that his answer to all bioethical questions came from story, dreams, and the land.
For example, I asked for his perspective of why some Indigenous patients who have been diagnosed with cancer choose to refuse complex treatment plans. He responded that “a man’s greatest poverty is experienced when he is separated from his hunting grounds.” This story offered me a ne way of thinking about this issue.
I tell stories, using images and words, in the hope of helping people in the world of healthcare. Patients’ stories (or what we might also call patient narratives) guide us in healthcare education, generating meaning for clinicians, practitioners, researchers, and educators.
Picture books can be a helpful tool for children during the process of mourning a loved one who has passed. Can you explain your approach to this theme in We Dream Medicine Dreams?
The hospital can be a very scary place for children. I wanted to show that children can take control of those feelings by imagining a place where healing can take place – even in dire circumstances when a loved one passes.
When we lose someone, it helps to remember the gifts that they have given us. Those who have passed want us the thrive and grow. This is a good path for beginning our healing journey.
I know this to be true for me. Years ago, my father was removed from a ventilator. I was not there. This book is a ceremony in many ways. I learned a great deal from my father about dreams before he died. I felt powerless and needed to facilitate my own narrative. For me, this was a visual narrative – and it became this book.
Furthermore, I was one of those Indigenous children who was taken away from their family. I knew my father for a very short time. He tried to share a lifetime of stories before he died. Many of the teachings about story started in our discussions about dreams. Those images of Granddaughter sleeping on Grampa’s chest in the book are me sleeping on my father’s chest. All those lessons given to me about dreams and the land have helped me recover such a profound loss. Those dreams and animal teachings help me to thrive as I navigate the world around me.
A lot of your work focuses on incorporating Indigenous worldviews in current health care practices. Tell us about how you came to create books for younger audiences.
For me, losing a parent was very confusing. I was aware that I was experiencing this loss as an adult, but I felt it in my heart as a child. It was a sinking feeling of loss, of fear, of helplessness…watching it unfold and having no control. As it was happening, I comforted myself by thinking of my father dreaming of returning to his hunting grounds.
The artwork is central to the storytelling in your book. For you, what comes first, the story or the images?
The images are always first. Most of the images are there at least in draft form before I pitch a book. Both of my books are written about the loss of family members, and the images start as a healing exercise for me. I am literally painting and/or collaging a safe space to heal.
For me, there are times when the answers to life’s challenges are wordless. Instead, I work them out in an image. This is a tool that I have perfected in my scholarship as a health researcher. I design the images and extract concepts from them. This has proven to be a powerful teaching technique in healthcare education.
What projects are you working on now? Can you tell us about any upcoming books?
I am currently collaging my PhD thesis. When it is completed, I am hoping to transform it into a resource for teaching clinicians how to create more meaningful relationships with their patients.
I have also started illustrating and writing a book on allyship. The book tells the story of Moose and Blue Jay and reflects the allyship relationship I have with a white settler colleague and friend, Stephanie Nixon. I will create the book, and Stephanie, who conducts research on allyship, will create the teaching manual that goes with it.
Find out more about Lisa by following her on twitter.
Canada’s independent booksellers share their recommendations for kids and teens. To find a local independent bookstore, visit findabookstore.ca.
Urchin by Kate Story (Running the Goat, 2021) Ages 12 and up
While Dorthea has always felt like a bit of an outsider, both at home and amongst the girls at school, she is thrilled when she gets to disguise herself as a boy so that she can serve as an errand boy to the world-renowned Marconi who has come to Newfoundland to install telegraph stations. But Marconi has his own secret reasons for being there: his determination to be the first person to succeed at trans-Atlantic communication. However, when Dor’s mother is kidnapped by the fairies she soon discovers that Marconi’s plans have dire consequences for the fairy folk, and Dor may just have to thwart Marconi’s efforts in order to save her mother. A unique and utterly compelling combination of history, culture and fairy lore, this delightful tale is ethereal and evocative, and brings the St. John’s setting vividly to life. The family drama and Dor’s struggles to understand and accept herself are also sensitively depicted and skillfully woven into the story.
—Lisa Doucet, Co-manager
Woozles Children’s Bookstore: 1533 Birmingham St., Halifax, NS B3J 2J1 www.woozles.com
Canadian librarians share their recommendations for kids and teens.
Children of the Fox (A Thieves of Shadow Novel) by Kevin Sands (Penguin Random House Canada, 2021) Ages 8-12
In this edge-of-your seat series opener, set in an intriguing world with Spellweavers, enchantments and a talking fox, fourteen-year-old Callan is an expert con artist who knows how to play the odds and is highly skilled in the fine art of reading body language. After receiving a mysteriously cryptic job offer that seems to promise a dream-come-true payout, Callan joins forces with four other exceptionally talented kids to pull off a high-stakes heist. This outstanding fantasy adventure novel offers surprising twists, traps, and trickery on every page. Callan is a charming, nuanced narrator with a heartbreaking backstory that is slowly revealed. His gaffer guidelines (“Pay attention to the details everyone misses”; “Need. Greed. And speed … are the three pillars of a most effective gaff”) give insight into human nature. Even the con artists can get conned, and a cliffhanger ending will have readers eagerly awaiting another Thieves of Shadow installment.
—Linda Ludke, Collections Management Librarian, London Public Library
If you are a librarian that would like to participate in this feature, please contact us.
Staff of the Canadian Children’s Book Centre recommend their favourite books for kids and teens
On the Other Side of the Forest, written and illustrated by Lori Doody (Running the Goat Press, 2021) Ages 3-5
Arthur lives with his dog Danton and his dad on a farm surrounded by a vast forest. The forest is too deep to walk through and some say that’s it filled with wolves or monsters. Arthur’s dad doesn’t believe this and one day he has a magnificent idea to find out what’s on the other side of the forest. Through a lot of work and help from their neighbours, they build a tower to help them finally have answers to all of their questions.
On the Other Side of the Forest is a story of community, hard work and seeking answers to life’s mysteries. I love the classic style of the illustrations and their darker tone. The story is simple but thought provoking and can fuel many conversations with young readers.
— Emma Hunter, CCBC Marketing & Communications Coordinator
See you in January 2022 for our next issue, all about making the world a better place!